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Indigenous Justice

Learn more on the Centre for Public Dialogue website.

The Gifts of Hearts Exchanged

“That is the fundamental nature of gifts: they move and their value increases with their passage. The fields made a gift of berries to us and we made a gift of them to our father. The more something is shared, the greater its value becomes.” Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Braiding Sweetgrass”*

What a gift “Hearts Exchanged” has been to me. 

“These Walls of Bitterness Must Be Broken”

In 1995, Jonathan Maracle, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga Territory in Ontario, Canada, decided not to sing Amazing Grace at the Sacred Assembly in Ottawa, as he had been asked. What he didn’t know was that listening to the Spirit in that moment would inspire a band and ministry that would shape the rest of his life [and the church.]

Reflections on Pope Francis’ Penitential Pilgrimage: Moving from wrongs to rights.

Pope Francis’ penitential pilgrimage to Turtle Island to speak words of apology to Indigenous communities regarding residential schools has been historic and important.  There are a wide range of critical and positive reactions among Survivors of residential schools and Indigenous leaders to the Pope’s statements while in Canada.  As a Settler, it’s certainly not my place to evaluate these perspectives so, in this piece dear reader, please allow me to offer a few reflections on the implications of the Pope’s visit for the broader church in Canada – including the CRC.

Justice Prayers - July 20, 2022

"Creator Sets Free (Jesus) lifted up his voice and said to them, "I am the light shining on this dark world.  The ones who walk with me will not stumble in the darkness but will have the light that gives them life."  - John 8:12 (FNV)

Cities of Broken Glass

Alcohol and drug use in Indigenous communities has a dark history among our people.  Due to intergenerational trauma communities next to American Indian reservations, or Canada off-reserve First Nation see many Indigenous people residing in Cities of Broken Glass from broken alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia.

Broken shards of glass can be found in many parts of our Indigenous land. These sharp pieces of colored glass reflect, sparkle, glimmer, and shine and can be mistaken for a sea of glass, like crystal among metropolitan ghettos.  

We're Indigenous People Too

In 2018, I was gifted to be one of one hundred and fifty First Nations people chosen to fly to Scotland to be featured in an internationally acclaimed television series. Upon arriving in Glasgow, we were loaded onto a tour bus and given a tour of the city. Our hosts welcomed us by stating, “You’re Indigenous, we’re Indigenous too. You were taken away from your families and put in residential schools; we were taken away from our families and put in industrial schools. You weren’t allowed to play your drums; we weren’t allowed to play our bagpipes.

Forgiveness

I once walked out of my church right in the middle of the service. I was with my daughter and I can tell she was embarrassed but followed me out anyways. If you know me, I don’t like to interrupt or cause an interruption so walking out was a pretty drastic move. I didn’t plan on it, I was actually looking forward to the service as the topic was about forgiveness and we were going to hear from Wilma Derkson via a Ted Talk and follow up with a discussion.

End of a journey or only just begun

Last weekend marked the final gathering of our formal meeting together as the Hearts Exchanged cohort in Classis Niagara.  Because of our relatively close proximity the majority of our meetings were held in person.  This was a blessing as it was a physical reminder that we need not journey alone. I am grateful for my fellow travellers and guides.

Justice Prayers - May 25, 2022

You alone have strength to carry this people.
Carry us now, O Lord.
You alone have wisdom and power to heal the wounds of a nation.
Heal us, O Lord.
You alone have compassion enough to enter our widespread grief, and turn it to hope.
Be merciful, O Christ!

- Grieving a National Tragedy (Every Moment Holy)

Oh No, I’ve been invited to a Talking Circle

So, you’ve been invited to attend a Talking Circle. As sharing is implied, one must conclude that a participant must share their feelings, thoughts, and opinions. 

I think a lot of people might think to themselves, “I’d rather see the dentist for a tooth extraction.”  Sharing for me can be compared to pulling teeth. Many people would rather stay home and catch up on reruns of the Dr. Phil then attend a Talking Circle.   

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